A man has died in an underground coal mine in Central Queensland.
- The contracted worker was doing “ancillary work” underground when he was struck in the head
- The incident occurred at the Anglo American Moranbah North mine
- The union representing the mining industry called for “stern action” to improve mine safety
Police were called to an industrial incident at a Moranbah mine, about 200 kilometres south-west of Mackay, at about 10pm yesterday after a 58-year-old man suffered critical head injuries.
The incident occurred at the Moranbah North mine, which is owned by global mining company Anglo American.
The underground long-wall operation produces metallurgical coal.
The man was a contractor for Mastermyne, with the company saying his family had been notified, and support offered to them and their staff.
CFMEU Queensland district president Stephen Smythe said the man was doing “ancillary work” at the mine when he was struck in the head.
“The details are still a bit sketchy, and that’s only due to the fact that it’s still under investigation,” Mr Smythe said.
“It’s a tragic, terrible event again, once again in the mining sector. I’m just lost for words.
Isaac Regional Council Mayor Anne Baker said in a Facebook post it was “devastating” news.
“We send our heartfelt thoughts and prayers to his family, colleagues and our communities as we process this tragedy,” she said.
“Our hearts break all over again today. On behalf of Isaac I extend our gratitude and support to emergency workers who were there for him last night.”
Union calls for ‘stern action’ to improve safety
Mr Smythe said the man’s fellow miners would need a lot of support as the news of another industry death sunk in.
“It won’t be just today or tomorrow, it’s going to be the weeks and months ahead,” he said.
“The scars are there. They’ll be there forever for some people.”
Mr Smythe said action was needed to make mines safer for workers.
“It’s just becoming all too often, this carnage. It’s got to stop,” he said.
“Everything that we’re doing at the moment, or the industry is doing, is not working — safety resets all that — it’s just not working.
“There’s got to be some stern action taken and it’s got to be real action that workers will believe in, and workers can actually say that their health and safety is paramount.”
Moranbah is a coal-mining town about 800km north-west of Brisbane.
A minute’s silence will be observed at the Moranbah Miners’ Memorial in the town square at 6pm today.
Anglo American CEO Tyler Mitchelson said the company’s focus was on supporting the worker’s family and all those involved.
“We are devastated by the loss of one of our colleagues at Moranbah North Mine, and our thoughts are with their family and friends,” he said.
“We have ceased mining activities at Moranbah North and will undertake a full investigation with relevant authorities, so we can understand how this incident occurred.”
Resources Minister Scott Stewart said he was “deeply saddened” to hear of the death of the miner.
“I would like to express my sincere condolences to the man’s family, friends and colleagues. My thoughts are with them,” he said in a statement.
“Any death or serious injury on a Queensland mine site is unacceptable, and every worker should expect to come home to their families after every shift.
“That is why the Palaszczuk government has implemented the strongest suite of mine health and safety laws in the world.”